Operator of medical equipment company sentenced on fraud charges

McALLEN — The operator of a local durable medical equipment company was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday, court documents show.

George Louis Moreno, operator of Mars DME Inc., stood before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez Wednesday morning during a scheduled sentencing hearing related to federal healthcare fraud allegations.

Moreno, who pleaded guilty in January to one count of healthcare fraud, will serve a three-year sentence in connection with a federal investigation that revealed he defrauded the Texas Medical Assistance Program, also known as the Texas Medicaid program, of more than $1.5 million.

According to a four-page federal criminal complaint filed against him last December, Moreno was accused of submitting claims for incontinence supplies that either were not delivered, or delivered for a higher value.

Government prosecutors alleged that Moreno and others conspired to defraud the medical assistance program using “fraudulent pretenses.”

Moreno ran a scheme over the course of nearly eight years by submitting false claims through the program.

According to the Texas Secretary of State website, Mars DME Inc., which first filed as a business in the state in 2005, is no longer active as of January 2016 due to non-payment of taxes.

The complaint stated that between August 2008 and January 2016, Moreno attempted to profit from the scheme by submitting or causing others to submit false and fraudulent claims to Texas Medicaid.

The document further stated that Moreno, “in order to execute and carry out the illegal activities,” submitted or caused others to submit fake claims for reimbursement of incontinence supplies that were not actually provided or only “partially delivered” to patients and clients.

Moreno also submitted false claims to Texas Medicaid asking for reimbursements for higher valued incontinence supplies, “when lower-reimbursing supplies were actually delivered to beneficiaries,” the document stated.

What’s more, Moreno caused others to make cash payments to beneficiaries instead of delivering the incontinence supplies, court documents show.

The government believes that over the course of the nearly eight years, Moreno caused Texas Medicaid to make overpayments of approximately $1,564,118.68.

As part of his punishment, Moreno will be required to pay back $1,491,399.78 in restitution, and serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.

Prior to his sentencing, Moreno was free on a $100,000 bond, and will remain on bond until he is required to surrender for prison Jan. 2, 2019.